Britain’s most decorated Winter Olympian, Lizzy Yarnold, is the latest athlete, supported by Hampshire County Council’s Talented Athlete Scheme, to achieve Olympic success.
Skeleton racer Lizzy has become the first Briton ever to win successive Winter Games golds after claiming victory on Saturday 17 February in PyeongChang.
Lizzy sought support from the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme (HTAS) in summer 2016 after moving to the Winchester area. The scheme provided Lizzy with access to local training facilities through a free leisure access card.
Councillor Andrew Gibson, the County Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, said: “Our congratulations go to Lizzy for her amazing gold medal win at PyeongChang. We’re proud that Lizzy was supported by our scheme and that it’s played a part in her securing her place in the Olympic history books.”
HTAS, which is funded by Hampshire County Council and administered by the independent charity, Energise Me, provides athletes with grants for competition and travel costs, physiotherapy and sport science support. Free access to leisure centres and bus travel, is included. The athletes also receive public speaking training to inspire schoolchildren to participate in sport.
Councillor Gibson continued: “Former HTAS participants have told us how much of a difference the scheme made to their sporting careers, particularly when they were young and support from national sporting bodies was not always available.
“Earlier this month, I announced that 191 athletes will receive HTAS support this year, with 119 of those receiving grant funding worth over £40,000. We are looking forward to seeing more athletes reach their full sporting potential and winning medals on the world stage.”
At the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics, five HTAS athletes won gold medals –women’s hockey captain Alex Danson, sprinter Georgie Hermitage, Boccia player David Smith, and swimmers Alice Tai and Mikey Jones.